3-gatsu no Lion – 19

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We step away from the Kawamoto sisters this week, but we see their warm caring nature reflected in Rei as he takes care of Shimada. Flashbacks indicate he’s had often-crippling stomach pains since he was a teenager, likely due in part to the pressure his small but well-meaning village put on him to become a master. He doesn’t want to let them down any more than himself.

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The Lion King Tournament with Souya is really doing a number on his already shaky health, so Rei comes by to make him a delicious udon bowl, stating his father (not Kouda-san) had the same stomach problems. Rei doesn’t cook for himself at home, but he’s happy to do it here, and is actually good at it. I can just imagine Hina’s joy (as well as Akari and Momo’s, but particularly Hina’s) if he whipped up a bowl for her!

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Rei goes against his better judgement and acquiesces to Shimada’s demand to play shogi with him, despite the fact what the dude needs most is sleep. But Rei is flattered to hear the reason why: like Souya, Rei is an all-rounder with similar “viewpoints” on the game Shimada can’t get elsewhere. Rei may be a stopgap (i.e. nowhere near as good) but he’s better than nothing. Souya even used the same word to describe the 3-g silver (or whatever) move: “disturbing.”

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From his house, Rei gets Shimada on the shinkansen, into his hotel room, and thanks to an altruistic assist from Souya, Shimada’s role in the pre-match reception is mercifully brief. The day of the match, Rei still second-guesses staying and playing with Shimada instead of insisting he rest back home, but there’s nothing he can do about it now. All he can do is hope Shimada has enough left in the tank to grab a win.

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Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 08

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The Gist: Headless-chan scores 5th place in the school midterms, which Vamp-chan resents ever so slightly. Meanwhile, we learn that Snow-chan really likes corny joke manga but is embarrased about this fact and tries to keep it a secret from Sakie-sensei, who has found a joke manga book Snow-chan accidentally dropped. Through their conversation, we see how pop-culture has responded to Demi-chans and how the Demis respond to their place in pop culture as well.

Then the Demi-chans hold an arm-tasting contest in the biology office, which Sensei loses, followed by improved scores for all the girls on their national proficiency tests.

It’s probably telling that I no longer retain any of these characters’ names…

demichan8bJust because you are a vampire, it doesn’t mean your exams should all be red…

The Verdict: As always, Demi-chan’s comedic writing is tight, albeit reserved for only two or three jokes each episode. Sakie’s flashback to breaking a bully and making him beg for more anguish was well animated, interesting, and fleshed out her character a bit too.

Unfortunately, the pop-culture segment contained no conflict, which makes its inclusion pleasant, but not compelling. Also, it lacked connection with real-world sub cultures, which deleted its ability to serve as a foil.

Demi-chan sort of laughs at its own jokes, both literally with its characters and more conceptually with its stucture. This makes it feel harmless and inviting, but limits the impact the narrative and characters are able to convey. At the end of the day, this show continues to be pleasant and watchable by design, but that’s not enough for more than a seven in my book.

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